The Next Time a Republican Brings Up the Need for “Small Government” — Show Them This

briberyThe role of government is one that’s always a hotly debated topic.  Liberals often lean towards “more government” while conservatives make the claim that they’re the party of “small government”—which is of course laughable.

I have never understood those who see the government as the enemy yet big business as the answer.

Let me break it down simply.

Government is a grouping of elected officials that are put in their specific offices by winning elections.  These people, good or bad, do not obtain whatever position of power they occupy without being put there by the voting public.

Many who oppose “big government” do so because they claim government is inefficient, corrupt and inhibits growth.

These people believe the betterment of our nation is best served by handing it over to the private sector and removing government altogether.

My question to these people is simple: What makes government inefficient and corrupt?  

The most common answer: Politicians.

Which I follow up with: Well, what makes politicians inefficient and corrupt?  

The most common answer:  Special interests and money.

Then I follow that with: Then tell me, what controls the special interests and money which makes these politicians, and in turn our government, inefficient and corrupt?  

This is where they usually get stumped.  But the answer is pretty simple and obvious.

Wealthy donors and big business.

But wait, I thought advocates for “small government” claim that our economic prosperity is best served by giving more power to those who already have power (the wealthy and big business)?   How can our best chance at economic success be found by giving unchecked (and unregulated) power over to the very same people and big businesses which, by using their money and influence, make our government corrupt and inefficient?

Doesn’t the fact that these people use their power and money to make our government corrupt and inefficient prove that if they were allowed to sidestep government altogether (by way of a smaller government with fewer regulations) they would then become even more corrupt than they currently are?

Currently they have to answer to politicians which in turn, through elections, do have a responsibility to answer to voters.  Yet without government regulations, these people and businesses would have the flood gates opened to do whatever they wanted, when they wanted and how they wanted.

After all, isn’t that why they pump so much money into government in the first place?  To buy politicians, which will support policies that benefit them?

Do these “small government” advocates really think that by removing government oversight governing these rich and powerful people and businesses, they’ll suddenly behave more morally and ethically?

These people are kidding, right?

Because let’s face it, most regulations and laws currently exist because some business, person or entity abused the system before they were put into place.  We only have child labor laws because businesses exploited children.  We only have laws which require safe working conditions because companies were putting employees at risk.  We only have laws which prevent big tobacco from gearing ads towards children because big tobacco was creating ads which targeted children.

These laws weren’t crafted because someone said, “Screw you, I want more laws!”  They were passed because someone, or something, took advantage of a system that hadn’t prevented the unscrupulous or unethical behavior.

And these same people, businesses or entities spent (or are spending) millions upon millions of dollars to lobby politicians, and in turn our government, to either prevent these laws from being passed or to have them repealed.

So they can continue unethical and unscrupulous behavior.

It’s just never made any sense to me that while we have a government which is often full of crap, those with positions of power are only there because we voted for them.  At least at the end of the day, and the end of their term, they are only given power by the voters.

We as Americans just can’t seem to get beyond mostly electing morons.  We elect the very people we claim we can’t stand.  The candidate who raised the most money, ran the dirtiest campaign and manipulated the most voters by telling people what they want to hear instead of the truth.

Then we have millions of Americans who complain about politicians, rally against our government — which are both made inefficient and corrupt by big business and money in politics — saying our best course of action is…

Deregulating the very people and businesses that are making our government inefficient and corrupt.

It makes absolutely zero sense.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • christian_707

    Rand Paul 2016

    • Randell Cinnamon

      Only in Bizzaro World, will that happen.

    • CherMoe

      He’s EXACTLY the sort of corrupt politician this article is about, that ignorant people vote into office. And you just exposed yours.

    • rish

      I HOPE Rand Paul is the Republican candidate for 2016. It would make it so much easier to get another Democrat in the Presidency.

      • dylan

        That is so very true. Come on…say it with me…here’s to a Rand Paul/Michelle Bachman Republican ticket!! I’d take Paul/Cruz or Ryan/Cruz, Cruz/Ryan—any of them would usher in Hillary to the white house.

    • I Once Was Andrew

      Exactly what we need, another asshole.

  • ArthorBearing

    I am still waiting for the blogosphere to read a book by Nassim Taleb (that’s right, a BOOK instead of a 1,500-word article). The problem is not big government or big business, but just plain ol’ bigness. Large actors are prone to mistakes and inefficiency, when things are done on a small scale mistakes aren’t as costly, and business and government are more responsive to local needs (i.e. actual people).

    • Mona Johnson

      the problem is the same no matter the scale.

      • Bruce Israel

        The problem might be the same, but the scale affects the impact of the problem. If a small company does something immoral, it’s low impact, and likely the marketplace will deal with it. If Google or Microsoft does something immoral, it affects a lot more people and is much harder to stop that behavior (usually requiring government intervention).

      • balance

        Scale matters a hell of a lot, actually. Ruling a whole ecologically and culturally diverse continent as a country has inherent problems. The power of Big Business is dangerous to the little people and the country and the world, where small business is not and could never be. Too big to fail is too big, and will and should fail, before it takes everything down with it.

    • teamrn

      Arthor, I agree. BIGNESS invites mistakes which give rise to other mistakes and trickle down. Small, and sleek comes to mind, be it liberal or conservative.

    • teamrn

      Arthor, I agree. BIGNESS invites mistakes which give rise to other mistakes and trickle down. Small, and sleek comes to mind, be it liberal or conservative.

  • Cathryn Sykes

    What kills me? “What government ever done for me? I built a business all by myself!’
    Uh-huh.
    Mr. Businessman, do you do cash transactions? Those little bits of green-inked paper aren’t worth wiping your nose with unless they are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the government.
    What, you use checks? Thanks to the government, the banker you use can’t just steal your money and run and leave you with nothing….Federal Deposit Insurance, pal.
    Do you need your employees to be able to read, write and do basic math? Chances are that most of them learned those skills in public, government-supported schools.
    Do you depend on legal contracts? Without a government judicial system, again, just paper with ink on it.
    Need roads to get your raw material to your factory and your finished goods to market? If any of those roads are city streets, county roads or federal highway, they’ve been built for you by government.
    Depend on fire or police to help you if your warehouse starts burning or is broken into? Government!
    I could go on for a hundred pages. I wish we could take these Randian idiots and drop a hundred of them into a howling wilderness. And see how long they last without the services that government provides.

    • MrWereman

      Exactly, worded excellently and the examples are perfect.

    • Patrick Klocek

      Those little pieces of paper have been devalued by the government which you believe is so saintly.
      You seem a little confused about the FDIC.
      I strongly suggest you go back and read Adam Smith’s seminal work from a couple centuries ago to see what Conservatives, like myself, see as the proper role of government. HINT: it is not redistributing wealth or handing out subsidies to politically connected corporations. But failing to do that, you can just enjoy your jousting with straw men … I am sure you will win every time.

      • Michelle Rhoades

        Those little pieces of paper are devalued mostly by the trade deficit which is caused by businesses shipping manufacturing jobs overseas.
        While Adam Smith’s work was the foundation of modern economic theory it was written in 1776. There have been a lot of advances since then.
        Finally, there aren’t many Conservativesleft who even know who Adam Smith was so I applaud you for that, but you need to take a look at the majority of people calling themselves conservative and realize there is a problem.

      • Charles Vincent

        “Those little pieces of paper are devalued mostly by the trade deficit which is caused by businesses shipping manufacturing jobs overseas.”
        Wrong currency is devalued because the federal reserve keeps inflating the monetary supply by printing notes like its Monopoly money.

      • Chuck Reed

        Well vincent, how would any of us have any money? If there were a finite amount of money we at the middle and bottom would not have any, all our money would be at the top just like the game monopoly!

      • Charles Vincent

        Why don’t you look at what happened in Austria because they printed money like they were making Monopoly money, please get a clue it’s called hyper inflation and it destroys the value of currency.

      • Patryk

        Dollar bills are just one form of currency. A currency is anything that holds value and can be used for exchange. The Federal Government’s printing of currency without any connection to the production of value is what devalues a given currency. That’s why you need to look at things like precious metals or commodities as indicators of value relative to US dollars.

      • Patryk

        The balance-of-payments is not the issue. It is government borrowing and the expansion of credit that creates a disconnect between value of objects or services and the currency used to pay for them.

      • “businesses shipping manufacturing jobs overseas. ” Why do businesses ship jobs overseas? Not because they enjoy New Delhi’ but because of the tax rates that aren’t business friendly. I’d go to other shores, too.

      • fifthdentist

        Actually, Adam Smith said that the wealthy should pay MORE toward society precisely because they benefited from the things that had been paid for in common. Back then, a guy could set up a blacksmith shop and supply his village; no need for roads to take his wares 100 miles away. The fire department was a bunch of guys with buckets who, in the event the blacksmith shop caught fire — if they were lucky — prevented the entire town from burning to the ground. Later, government played a large role in developing canals and railroads. And much later the socialist interstate highway system was built by the government (although Ike sold it as a military necessity). The government invented built the first nuclear power plants as a means of producing material for nuclear bombs.
        Sure, government does some fu*$ed up things. But it also is necessary. When rivers caught on fire, it was government — and a Republican president back before they were batshit crazy — who signed legislation to protect air and water. When business built houses on top of toxic waste dumps, it was up to government to establish Superfund to clean up the piles of poison that companies simply walked away from. Talk about personal responsibility. We’ve seen dozens of oil spills in recent years; without some threat of being held responsible there would have been hundreds and much worse ones. Hell, Exxon is still involved in lawsuits to avoid paying out money for the Valdez spill that they AGREED to pay at the time. Because greedy shits are greedy.

        If libertarian world is so attractive, let those who espouse it go walk the walk in non-regulated Somalia.

      • Michael

        American libertarians are idiots. They either don’t know or refuse to believe that Libertarianism comes from the term Libertarian Socialism/Communism – an AnCom movement. We should stop calling ultra-rights libertarians, it makes my LibCom self offended.

      • Charles Vincent

        lib·er·tar·i·an
        noun
        1.
        a person who advocates liberty, especially with regard to thought or conduct.
        2.
        a person who maintains the doctrine of free will (distinguished from necessitarian ).
        adjective
        3.
        advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty.
        4.
        maintaining the doctrine of free will.

        lib·er·ty
        noun, plural lib·er·ties.
        1.
        freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
        2.
        freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
        3.
        freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
        4.
        freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint: The prisoner soon regained his liberty.
        5.
        permission granted to a sailor, especially in the navy, to go ashore.

      • MrLightRail

        Sounds pretty close to anarchy, which we don’t need.

      • Charles Vincent

        Not really government would be or should closely resemble what we had at the outset of our country small and relatively un intrusive to the lives of this countries citizenry except in cases where some individual violated another’s liberties.

      • MrLightRail

        I disagree, our society has changed greatly since the 1780’s and our government needs to expand to reflect those changes. Business has changed from those times too. They would become much more powerful under a government imagined by you, and their motives would be for profit and greed, not the general welfare.

      • Charles Vincent

        Wrong they didn’t become more powerful before and the only reason corporations are as out of control now is because of government interference and subsidization of corporate interests in exchange for money to get reelected to congress. Your theory also assumes that government cannot fail or will not seek to achieve ends that are also not in the interests of the general welfare of our countries citizenry.

      • MrLightRail

        Remember Robber Barons? That was before government became ”intrusive” into business, so your theory does not hold water. You will never achieve ”nirvana” in government. There will be issues that government does that all will not agree to be in the ”interests of the general welfare” due to philosophy that the majority do not subscribe to. Money in government coming from monied interests and corporations, corrupting government is the most pressing problem of 21st century government. Reducing the size of government needs to be done with our modern requirements to be considered, not try to reduce it to bare bones, which will allow the more powerful to effect control on our everyday lives.

      • Charles Vincent

        The myth of robber barons has been debunked by historians. For instance John d Rockefeller was a very well known philanthropist.

      • zac

        Z
        Upon his death….

      • Patrick Klocek

        Almost every kid who went to high school in southern California knows about John Paul Getty — he endowed an art museum that is plaguing kids to this day.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Sorry, “Dentist” but you show yourself to be poorly informed when you use words like “socialist roads.” There are no socialist roads in the US. The according to Adam Smith, the government is to step in and provide “public goods” when the Market cannot do so profitably. The government provides street lighting because it is a public good that cannot be done profitably by the Market. But the roads and the lights are not socialistic. Socialism strives to eliminate class divisions and create equality of wealth. Can you PLEASE explain to me how street lights eliminate wealth inequality?
        Now, on Somalia. Just because YOU don’t recognize laws or a governmental system does not mean the law or government doesn’t exist. Somalia has devolved to the Somalis’ organic pre-imperial system. The government that existed in Somalia until the 1990s was a Marxist regime imported by Somali intellectuals who were resident in the 1st and 2nd Worlds. This system was wholly rejected by the Somali people in favour of traditional Shariah and clan structures. So, Somalia is indeed “regulated” and has a “government” but it is one that is not recognized by you because of your racial and cultural biases. Now, that being said, it is also telling that you consider Libertarians to be “anarchists” (they are not) and that you think Somalis are anarchists as well (they also are not). I urge you to educate yourself further in the future so that you can avoid embarrassing posts like the ones above.

      • Thank you, Patrick for grabbing that one. Education ought to be the province of the state and local governments; not a federal government.

      • Patrick Klocek

        When education becomes the private preserve of one group, say, the Federal Government, it quickly becomes a propaganda exercise. If a thousand different communities try to do what is best for their specific children; you will have education that is fits the needs of the children — not the needs of the state.

      • MrLightRail

        Say, shouldn’t that apply to Texas, too? They are trying to interject fairy tales into science, and teach revisionist history to their children. I’d rather have the Feds keeping idiots like Texas from ruining the minds of children.

      • Patrick Klocek

        You are making the assumption that the Feds will never be as idiotic as certain Texans. I don’t care if a couple schools decide to be ridiculous. If the parents have real power, they will pull their kids out or press for change. What happens if the Federal Government standardizes some horrible nonsense? What then? Pull your kids out of school and send them to Canada? Would you rather take your case to the Supreme Court or the local PTA? I am 100% you will have a better chance at getting a hearing at the local school board meeting than you will petitioning the SCOTUS or even the US Department of Education.

    • Berry Muhl

      “Those little bits of green-inked paper aren’t worth wiping your nose
      with unless they are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the
      government.”

      That’s why so many liberty-loving people are moving to BitCoin.

      • Chuck Reed

        Let me know how your life is doing everything through barter. Until then just another comment.

      • Berry Muhl

        OK, Chuck, I stand corrected. Nobody’s using BitCoin. It’s all just a big fat media lie.

        Gawsh, I wonder how trade was able to proceed at all over the course of most of the past 90,000 years in the absence of that full faith and credit?

      • Joecaber

        poorly.

    • J

      the government’s money comes from every taxpayer in this country…and the government is not doing anything the taxpayers don’t require…they are smart…they give yoou just enough to keep you happy and then steal the rest…

      • Patrick Klocek

        The government produces no “revenues” of its own — Barry Obama seems to think they do. The government simply extracts wealth from the Private Sector and the Market and re-distributes it as it sees fit based on its own agenda which may or may not have anything to do with increasing prosperity but more likely having to do with buying influence, rewarding favors, and consolidating power. People really need to get past their adolescent ideas that the government is this big benevolent parent-figure out there trying to sort out all of your problems.

      • formerroadie

        You are a typical “something for nothing” conservative. Incredible. What do you think the private sector does? It redistributes wealth upwards. You people are so damn thick.

      • teamrn

        The private sector does nothing but redistribute wealth upwards? Think seriously again, real hard. Think about the roof you had put on your house, the staff at the nearby hospital who cared for you when you were sick, the person who does your taxes, your banker, your dentist. Are they redistributing the wealth upwards or are they providing gods and services, needed goods and services. Heck, the kennel I take my dog employes nearly 40 people and they’re not sending money to Washington. Please don’t dishonor these hard working Americans by calling THEM thick, just because they believe in an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. and didn’t always chose the union life because of what unions often represent. Not all are represented by unions, but they DO WANT TO WORK and if self-employed, want to put money back into their businesses. Some of the above employees are public sector employees but the majority are not..

      • Dawn Hilton Oliveira

        Teamrn,I have to ask you, where have you been? First, you have small mom and pop stores going out of business because of Walmart. My town alone has lost a lot of them! Do the research on it, you may be surprised. This company underpays their employees so that you and I; the tax payer has to help them to buy food. Second, larger companies now are laying off employees, making the remaining workers do twice if not triple the work for the exact same wages. Last but not least these same companies CEO’s make enough money a year in bonuses alone in amounts that you and I will never see in a lifetime! How do you think those CEO’s get those bonuses??? They get that way because they increase their profits by cutting overhead. Who do you think their overhead is??? You also need to check into private schools, hospitals, and prisons, just to start. Private schools have been investigated and compared, they are no better than the public schools except you have to pay for them. Privatizing everything will only cost the consumer more money with less or the same turn out, the difference will be that you have no say in it because there will be no on out there to oversee them. In Florida, the electric company every year requests to raise rates but the government turns them down because they can’t show justification for it, now how much do you think we would be paying for a basic necessity should the government not be there? Here is something else to think about, a wealthy American bought a railway system in a major European country, I believe it is Paris, now the city still runs the railway and gets some money out of it, much less than it used to because they have to pay that American to run it. Guess what happened to the rates those people had to pay for a daily ride to work? It would be awesome if we had more small businesses out there but the problem is that those big corporations are driving them out, yes they have to pay taxes but remember most of those big businesses pay close to nothing, because they lobby our government. The only way we are going to survive is by stopping the lobbying. If you believe in that trickle down theory you only need to look where we are. there is nothing trickling down, if fact they have become greedy, it is as if they can never have enough while we all would be happy just to be able to pay our electric bills!

      • Patrick Klocek

        Your response to “teamrn” was long on verbiage and short on actual basic economic literacy. I will try to address a couple of your points here.

        1. Wal-Mart putting small businesses out-of business: This is true. But you miss the bigger picture. The small sellers have higher over-head and less selection. Wal-Mart offers lower price due to their ability to cut both production and transportation costs. Their significantly cheaper products free money up for other uses. If a person can save 20% of their food bill, they may be inclined to use that remaining 20% for an addition product that they would not have otherwise bought — those generating additional revenue for somebody who would not have had a sale. Look at macro-picture — not just the micro-picture.

        2. CEOs who make millions in bonuses and pay lead publically traded firms. The drivers of those packages are the shareholders who demand ever-increasing share values. Sometimes they get them. I personally would not invest in such a business. The process is entirely democratic. Hiring rock-star CEOs is a fad. If they are not worth the money, the shareholders will replace them. It effects neither you nor me in any way. It doesn’t make me angry and it shouldn’t make you angry either. It only makes me think that I should have spent more time on finance and economics than I did.

        3. “Private schools are no better than public schools.” This may be true but it is also an indictment of your position. If private schools are “no better” but if they are run at 80% of the cost of public ones — then the private schools must be doing something right in terms of efficiency.

        4. You wrote “a wealthy American bought a railway system in a major European country, I believe it is Paris …” I must report that “Paris” is not only NOT a major European country — it’s not even a European country. Paris would be the capital and largest city in France. France has been a unified state for more than a thousand years now — you should really look into it.

      • toysax

        best you look back at GW to see who stacks up as the major abuser… I think youll be very surprised.. “Barry” is supposed to be some kind of insult? lame.. very lame

      • Patrick Klocek

        1. “Barry” is what Obama called himself up until his 20s. It’s lame that you don’t know that. But I shouldn’t expect a Progressive to enter into a conversation within any facts, information, or previous knowledge.

        2. Bush is not the issue here. Your attempt at deflection was as clumsy as it was irrelevant. My point is that government creates no wealth itself — it only redistributes the wealth created in the private sector. Bush’s WH extracted wealth. Obama’s does more so. Nixon’s did as did that of Grover Cleveland and so did the ancient kings of Mesopotamia. My contention is that the State needs to do a lot less of it. Your contention is that they need to do more because you are looking for a windfall as repayment for your political support.

      • poppaDavid

        Actually, government is nothing more than a corporation, with a written charter and defined objectives. It is inherently no better and no worse than any other corporation. The difference between government and for-profit corporations is that our government is dedicated to protecting our lives, liberty and property. For-profit corporations are dedicated to creating profit to distribute to their Directors, Officers and stockholders. It would be foolish to expect big business to have any concern for your interests when pursuing their goals.

        One function of our government is maintaining a peaceful and functioning marketplace. Another is providing a court system for adjudicating contracts. Another is policing fraud, violence, coercion, extortion, and theft. Our government also addresses those businesses who externalize their costs by dumping their waste products unto innocent parties.

        All of those government functions allow your private for-profit corporations to function and generate profits.

        If you should ever study economic history, you should observe that failed states lose their peaceful marketplaces, and the courts, and police that defend citizen’s economic interests.

      • Patrick Klocek

        If you should ever study economic history — you would know that Adam Smith detailed most of what you wrote in your second paragraph, way back in 1776!

        Your first paragraph is on much shakier ground when you pronounce platitudes like, “our government is dedicated to protecting our lives, liberty and property.” Perhaps you meant that ironically. From Edward Snowden to Lois Lerner and all the way to the expert negro-ologist. Cliven Bundy, I am not sure how you could write such a thing unless you, like me, heard a laugh track playing in your head.

        If you should ever study economic development, you should note that lesser developed states are ones that have a week commitment to rule-of-law. Read Daron Acemoglu and Niall Ferguson for more on that.

      • poppaDavid

        My second paragraph was describing how government is a partner in the creation of wealth, and you graciously described that Adam Smith had made a similar description of government’s role. As a partner, government has a reasonable expectation of a share in the proceeds of the wealth they helped to create.

        Rule of law is one factor in the development of economies. Basically, you are talking about the type of government that creates and enforces the laws. Boko Haram is strongly committed to Sharia Law, and they are destroying the economy of Nigeria. Somalia has no central government and the law is based upon local war-lords. If you want to have rule of law, you need a government based upon rule of law, and that requires funding.

        Our government is dedicated to protecting our lives, liberty and property. The document is called the Constitution. Most of the complaints have been that it isn’t meeting the standard, not that the standard doesn’t exist. Are there excesses and abuses? Absolutely. Is anarchy a good solution? No. There is no rule of law under anarchy.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Apart from followers of Noam Chomski, I do not know who is calling for anarchy. That seems to be a strawman argument to me. I am a follower of the Neo-Classical Liberal school of economics. The grandfather, and godfather, of that school is Adam Smith himself. Government should be limited to those areas, or their modern equivalents, that Smith and the US Constitution outlined 200 years ago.

        In addition to Smith, I am a fan of John Locke. Locke had a proper and justified fear of government borne of the excesses and abuses of his day — Cromwell, mostly. But just because Cromwell is not part of distant US/UK history, doesn’t mean a new version of him is automatically and absolute impossibility. It will always look different the next time. Increasing governments’ role in society is, in my opinion, opening that society up to potential for abuse, excess, and coercion.

        Now, the final point that I must take issue with is the line, “As a partner, government has a reasonable expectation of a share in the proceeds of the wealth they helped to create.” I must EMPHATICALLY say, “NO THEY DO NOT!” Government is constituted for sole purpose of carrying out the functions specified by the constitution and Adam Smith. They are not entitled to ANY share of the “wealth” that comes of those functions. They are entitled to be paid for the services they provide. As an example: I used to sometimes eat breakfast at a restaurant before work. A good breakfast allowed me to be more productive during the day. That restaurant was entitled to receive money for the service they provided (breakfast) but not to a portion of my daily income on the grounds that I would never have earned that money had it not been for their Grand Slam Breakfast. That seems to be the point you are making there. I hope that you did not mean that because that would open up a floodgate of claims on other people for their “wealth.” If the government builds a road, they are entitled to be paid for the cost of the road and its coast of maintenance. They are not, under any circumstances, entitled to a percentage of any of the goods that move along that road. create.” The restaurant and the government have a right only to receive payment or funding for the services/products that they deliver. Nothing more.

        BTW, I differentiate between the idea of the USA and the government of the USA.

      • poppaDavid

        On another thread in this forum I had a long and interesting discussion with a living, breathing libertarian anarchist. They exist and offer many of the same perspectives that you offer.

        When the American colonies were first founded the law stated that the land was owned by the corporations chartered by the Crown, the colonists were employees of the corporation, the corporation wrote the laws and ran the corporation would decree who would lead the colony.

        That didn’t always happen. When the colonists on the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, they rejected the original terms of their contracts and formed their own government to create their own laws and elect their own leaders to run their colony. In essence Plymouth Colony started with a worker’s strike and the creation of a labor union to run the colony. LOL

        By the time of the American Revolution, none of the original rules were in place. All of the colonies had fallen under Socialist reign. Instead of absolute rights for the corporate land owner, the colonies insisted upon the right of the colonists to dictate law to the colonial corporations. And when the Crown attempted to restore the colonial authority, the colonies rebelled and established a Socialist government, where the Citizens of the state elected a Congress to run the nation rather than allowing private corporations unregulated control over their land.

      • Patrick Klocek

        I am afraid you are misusing the word “socialist” in a rather profound way. It sounds to me that you have learned your US History from the likes of Howard Zinn and Ward Churchill. That being you are desperately trying to equate the tropes of today — OWS and Social Democracy — to the situation as it existed 300 years ago.

        The earliest colonies did indeed have charters that sought to keep the settlers as indentured laborers and it worked for a little while. But English law at the time didn’t support eternal indenturing. After those workers terms expired (usually 3-7 years), they were free to leave. They usually seized their own lands since unimproved lands were considered, under Common Law, to be “public” or “common lands” which could be turned into private property by continual habitation and improvement. Those freed workers insisted upon their rights and got title to their lands. They out-produced the corporations. That is the genesis of the mass land-owning class. I don’t know how you got the idea to equate elected parliaments with socialism. Was King John being a socialist when he consented to a parliament in 1215!?!?!

        The Rebellion which started in 1774 had little to do with socialism. It had everything to do with Crony Capitalism — in this case the Crown-licensed monopolies on various products (tea, sugar, and manufactured goods). Also were the taxes sought by the Crown to cover the cost of the Seven Years War. The Crown sought to levy those taxes directly and circumvented colonial legislatures which, to Englishmen, was galling since Parliament alone had the right to levy taxes — at least since 1688.

        To a Libertarian like myself, there is no greater sin than that of a Crown-licensed monopoly. One of the most basic principles of Capitalism as outlined by Adam Smith (who never used the word “Capitalism” BTW), was that for “freedom of entry and exit from the market.” Crown-licensed monopolies destroy that! They bar entrance of new actors and artificially retain and support inefficient or unprofitable actors. The US rebellion of 1774-1784 was a BOURGEOIS and Capitalist uprising against the exercise of royal prerogatives in taxation and commerce.

        And again, the Libertarian-Anarchists are Noam Chomsky followers — properly known as Anarcho-syndicalists. They are not among the ranks of the TEA Party — even if you insist that they are. They are part of the loopy OWS crowd. Similarly, the Lyndon LaRouche people are outside the TEA Party fold no matter what Progressives insist. The TEA Party takes its intellectual inspiration from Adam Smith, John Locke, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman. It is the Progressives and their OWS-spawn that are influenced by Hegel, Marx, Derrida and Foucault. Those influences are broadly rejected by not only myself but also by most Conservatives.

      • poppaDavid

        You allow Karl Marx to define socialism. There were other thinkers before him.

        The better known radical socialists of the 1770’s may be Thomas Paine and Thomas Spencer. The transition from the early Crown colonial grants to the first colonies to the nature of those colonies in the 1770’s is reflected in their “Rights Of Man”, “Agrarian Justice” and “Property in Land Every One’s Right”.

        For example:
        “Every proprietor, therefore, of cultivated lands, owes to the community ground-rent (for I know of no better term to express the idea) for the land which he holds; and it is from this ground-rent that the fund prod in this plan is to issue.”

        “Having thus in a few words, opened the merits of the case, I shall now proceed to the plan I have to propose, which is,

        To create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property:

        And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.”
        Thomas Payne, Agrarian Justice

        It is common to quote Paine in his justification for Revolution, which may have come from Rousseau. It is less common to quote his ideas about the society that should follow the Revolution. But, Paine’s and Spencer’s ideas did exist, and they did influence the discussions in the Constitutional Convention.

      • Patrick Joseph Klocek

        Yes, I do allow Marx to define Socialism. It was his face up in Red Square. It was he who inspired the moniker, “Marxist.” But your contention is fair enough. I am sure in some socialist circles, there is a dislike of Marx. So, when I say, “socialist,” I am working in a well-defined Marxist context that:

        -Rejects the private ownership of the factors of production.
        -Rejects the class structure, the only legitimate social class being the proletariat.
        -Rejects private ownership of property.
        -Rejects the operation of independent civil society institutions except for those that are proletarian in nature.

        To be a Socialist, in my admittedly right-wing and biased mind is to work toward all of these ends. It is to attempt to erase social classes through wealth redistribution. It is to attempt to eliminate private property by transferring property and raw materials to the state for “protection.” And for advocating that the state progressively limit the freedom of action for both private producers and the activities of civil society institutions. That, to me, is Socialism. And I oppose that.

      • poppaDavid

        Socialism is bigger than Karl Marx. People had been working on the questions of social justice and economic inequality prior to Marx.

        One definition that does not rely upon Marx reads:

        A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. – Oxford Dictionary

        When the English Crown made the first land grants the “means of production” was tied to land and the land was owned by corporation. For example, the “Company of Massachusetts Bay” received a land grant to the area between the Charles and Merrimack rivers and westward to the Pacific Ocean. The corporation had control over the land from sea to shining sea, and control over the people who lived within the colony.

        By 1776 that land was regulated by the community as a whole acting throught the Massachusetts legislature.

        The colonists changed ownership of the land from the corporation to individual land holders and the commons.

        The colonists rejected the class structure, replacing it with the concept of citizen and eventually even rejecting slavery.

        The colonists retained private ownership of some lands, but adopted the concept of public lands, public roads, public libraries, public schools, public post, and public responsibility for defense.

        The colonists rejected institutions based upon “the divine right of kings” and replaced them with institution that received their authority from “the consent of the governed”.

        By the time of the American Revolution, the American colonies had already sustained a social revolution. We had gone from the English system of King, nobles and aristocrats to a system dominate by middle class merchants.

        If the socialist revolution had already happened, why did the colonies revolt? The New England colonies did chafe under the Crony Capitalism as you suggest. The Mid-Atlantic colonies objected to English treaties with natives that kept colonists out of the Ohio River valley. And the Southern states correctly felt that Somerset v. Stewart was the beginning of the end for slavery in the English colonies.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Your Oxford Dictionary definition of Marxism is, essentially, the Marxist structure. It is that all of the factors of production and property are to be held COMMUNALLY rather than by individuals.
        Trouble arises when we try to define “COMMUNALLY” because in most cases, that simply becomes the State. The Sate then develops a bureaucracy which soon turns into a public sector social class which in effect takes control of the factors of production. This happened in China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and every other place where the property was “held in common.”

        I still think you over-state the socialist inclinations of the American Revolution. The rebellion was bourgeois and firmly in the tradition of the 1642 and 1688 revolutions in England. The acquisition of private property was always the chief draw in America — that’s why the monopoly chartered-corporations had such a short life in the colonies. By 1776, they were a distant memory. And the goals of those very first TEA PARTIERS in Boston Harbour, was private property and free trade. There were always Utopianists and Fee Thinkers about — but that American Revolution was no revolution at all. It was a bourgeois revolt against the loss of English rights gained since 1688. Indeed, it was a powerful assertion of the rights secured in the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution — all still at the edge of living memory for many people in 1774.

      • poppaDavid

        You focus on Marxist ideals where everything is held in common by the state. I am not suggesting that a revolution in the 1700’s was following the writings from the 1800’s. I don’t believe in time travel.

        Part of the definition I quoted, and you ignored is “the means of production is regulated by the community as a whole”. In the beginning there was no regulation over the use of private property by the corporation. By the time of the revolution there was regulation “by the community as a whole” in the form of colonial legislatures.

        Your insistence that there is only one Socialism and Marx is its prophet is wrong. You fear/hate/despise Marxist socialism? Fine. It isn’t the only version.

        You want to use “bourgeoise” or “proletariat”? Fine. I am neither French nor Marxist. I call them “poor people” and “middle class”. You are worried about government transferring wealth between classes? So am I. And I can read the statistics, the middle class is losing wealth to the 1%, not the poor people.

        Our government was founded to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare. I want the whole package. I don’t want it reduced to the point that the only thing we get is foreign wars.

      • Patrick Joseph Klocek

        I referred above to the FACTORS of Production. This term includes Land, Labor, and Capital. “Land” and “Capital” alone is what Marxists combine into the “means of production”. Under Marxism, the factors or production are communally held. Under the system that you describe, the factors of production are still publically owned. But you describe as “revolutionary”, the legislative regulation of private property. I would hardly call this revolutionary. I will grant some regulation of private property where negative externalities arise. That’s been going on for a long time. But as of late — it has become too intrusive for my tastes.

        Bourgeoisie and Proletariat are the accepted terms. “Poor people” and “Middle Class” are vague and relational titles. They are imprecise and that’s why economists generally avoid using them. Even “middle class” is avoided in favor of specified quartiles or quintiles.

        I agree with you that foreign wars have little value (though the American Empire has generally been a source for good). But my Libertarian answer to you is the “YOU GET” whatever you go out and earn. The Government will pave roads, provide for defense, institute courts for the adjudication of disputes, and explore new lands (now, that’s NASA’s job). Beyond that, what YOU GET, is up to you. Personally, I don’t want the government giving me anything because there are always strings attached.

        The 1% doesn’t bother me. They command no armies, run no prisons, deploy no police force. in short, they have no system to coerce me to do their bidding. If I don’t want to support the Koch Brothers, I can refuse to buy there products — Brawny Paper Towels, per se — I can buy a different brand. Monopolies only exist where a government exercises its coercive power to protect the monopoly. Monopolies represent a “market failure.” Now, if I don’t happen to want to buy an ObamaCare insurance policy — and I have not done so (I happen to be exempt) — what will happen to me? Will I be fined? Could I be imprisoned? Could they try to seize my cattle if they claim that I am behind on my taxes. The government is a threat to my liberty, not the Koch Brothers.

        Now, on to what seems like a defense of Piketty. I do not think the Middle Class is “losing wealth” to the 1%. I don’t know what statistic you have that prove this. I have looked at loads od statistics and what I see is that the top-1% had great wealth growth over he last 25 years. I also did not see the middle class (whatever that is) losing wealth at all. I saw their wealth increase, but at a slower rate. Their absolute wealth is greater now than 25 years ago.

        When a member of the middle class runs a successful business and he or she manages to increase revenue from 100K to around 300K per year; that business owner magically disappears from the “middle class” and becomes a member of the mythical “1%.” To a statistician, that looks the same as a loss of 300K by the middle class. It is not. Furthermore, when a top-notch brain surgeon retires, his income plummets overnight. By abandoning his 500K per year salary and taking his pension — he may be forced to scrimp and save on about 80K per year. The doctor has left the 1% and joined the middle class. Likewise, when an Amtrak engineer retires after 40 years in the cab — his upper-middle class salary disappears and he will have to make due on a pension that is about 1/3 of what he earned before. As a retiree, that’s probably fine. I hope he owns his home now and that his kids are grown. But on paper, it will appear as though he has been pushed into poverty. But, he hasn’t been.

        I encourage you to google Thomas Sowell (tons of him on Youtube), he spends a lot of time talking about this. He did ground-breaking work on it back in the 1960s.

      • poppaDavid

        Here are the numbers.

        Between 1967 and 2012 the Real (Inflation-Adjusted) Mean Household Income of the bottom, 2nd and middle quintiles was essentially flat. The fourth quintile saw some improvement. The top quintile saw actual improvement.

        During that time the economy did see improvement, but it only went to the top of the top. Income for the doctors and small business owners in the 0.1-1% saw minor improvement. During that time the top 0.01% went from holding 4% of American wealth to holding 11% of American wealth.

        NAFTA was adopted in 1994. Graham-Leach-Bliley deregulated financial markets in 1999. President Bush passed tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. Yet, between 1999 and the present the US Median Household real income has declined. That means that fully half of Americans are worse off after those “free market” changes.

        You offer that in America, you get what you earn. The economy has recovered from the 2008 recession. Worker productivity has increased. The stock market has hit all time highs. Corporate profits are at record levels. Financial markets pay record bonuses. Yet, the decline in US Median Household real income has been continuous from 2007 to the present.

        The top 0.01% have 60% of their wealth in stocks, and their wages come from businesses where they decide the salary. If you have a few million to invest in the stock market you too can earn what they earn.

        You say that the 1% control no armies? Why did the U.S. sent troops in to Iraq instead of North Korea? The 1% doesn’t coerce you? Tell me about Net Neutrality.

        We both see government as a problem. The difference is our response to the issue. You want to shut it down and trust to Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”. I want to clean it up and use it to protect me from “crony capitalism”.

      • Patrick Joseph Klocek

        We despise cronyism more than anything else. Cronyism only survives in an environment in which POWER can give benefits and protection. If you choke off the state-power, the incentive to cultivate a relationship with the state evaporates. Further empowering the state to check corporate power will just lead to stronger efforts by corporations to infiltrate the government. Obama’s answer to the cronyism of Halliburton has been to shift the benefits to Solyndra.

        Now, the income structure has changed greatly since 1967. By using 1967 as a baseline, you are skewing the data considerably. Firstly, the average age in which people now enter the workforce is later than 1967. So when those 22 year olds file tax returns, they will look much poorer by default. They are probably still training for their professions. Secondly, the sexual revolution has changed the way tax returns look. More and more couples live together without being married. A middle-class combined household thus appears — statistically — to be two lower-class households. They are not. The numbers you are talking about above are aggregate incomes as reported from tax data. I don’t think that data is reliable anymore because of changing notions of what constitutes a “household” between 1967 and 2013. What you sources are really showing us is a decline in marriage rates has real consequences.

        And why Iraq and North Korea — because their is nothing within artillery range of the Iraqi border. If you march on North Korea, Seoul receives the mother of all artillery barrages within minutes. I have been all along the Iraqi border in my time — there’s nothing out there but stray camels.

        What is the economic benefit of Afghanistan? NOTHING. They grow melons around Kandahar. They have some natural gas but we have loads of that in North Dakota and don’t need it. Iraq was primed for a consumer culture. Afghanistan — the Pashtun anyway — are backwards and primitive. Again, the only way Halliburton or Chevron get to be cronies is by luring the state into an alliance. Without the state, Chevron and Halliburton are noting. Do you really think the Left won’t simply elevate their own cronies — like George Soros, Tom Steyer, Jeffrey Immelt, or GM? I want to eliminate all cronyism — not just right-wing cronyism.

      • poppaDavid

        Unless you retreat into the fantasy world of libertarian anarchy, you must accept that there will be one or more governments exercising control over he inhabited parts of this planet. And they will be fighting over territory like Ukraine, Afghanistan, Paracels Islands, etc.

        There is no question of “will we have a government?” There is only a question of “what form will the government take?” Following the American Revolution our country turned away from hereditary, aristocratic, top down government to a radical, citizen based, bottom up government. That government finalized the replacement of corporate control over the American colonies with citizen control. Liberals do not want to return control of this country to royals, aristocrats, or corporations run by America’s power elite.

        You express concern that corporations will infiltrate the government if our citizens insist that their government protect their iterests. I share that concern. You suggest that the best solution is to limit the government’s power to protect citizens. I disagree, the solution is to restrict the power elite’s ability to use their corporate resources to influence our government.

        Between 1967 and 2012 the bottom three quintiles has flat growth. You offered two potential reasons; age at entering the workforce and unmarriage couples. According to the fhwa-dot statistics the number of workers per household in 1960 was 1.22. By 2000 that number was unchanged at 1.22. Basically, in 1967 there may have been two adults in the household, but for the most part only one was employed.

        The continuous decline post-2000 has more to do with asymetrical power in employer-employee barganing and mercantilism in international trade than marital habits.

        Your answer to “Why Iraq rather than North Korea” supports my position. The 1% wanted Iraqi oil. North Korea represents a real threat, but no oil. So, the army of the 1% chose to attack Iraq. You offered that Iraq was primed for a consumer culture, so what? They can buy Chinese consumer goods directly from China.

        You want to REALLY reduce cronyism? Reduce the military and the American Empire, so that the government cannot interfer in world events on the side of American corporations. Stop viewing them as persons independent of their directors and stockholders. Remove government limitations on stockholder liabilities for corporate liabilities. Return corporations to the original standard that they were chartered for the benefit of the society and could lose their charter if they didn’t benefit society. Tax investment earnings at the same rate as labor earnings.

        Want free markets? Restore patents and copyrights to their original length of time.

      • Patrick Joseph Klocek

        You bring up many very valid points and concerns which I share. As usual, we attack them from opposite directions.
        I still don’t know of very many Libertarians who are also anarchist. There are Anarcho-syndicalists (the Chomsky people) and your garden-variety anarchists (who are usually members of the drug culture) but I am in that Conservative-Libertarian that is in love with Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Adam Smith, and John Locke. The politicians out there today who best personify that philosophy would be Rick Perry and Sarah Palin. Both worked in government, as Adam Smith did. But they all appreciate that giving the government broad powers of coercion usually lead governments to exercising those powers ON THE PEOPLE.
        The US has a trade surplus with the GCC. I think it is perfectly legitimate to want to add a new member to that club. And toppling Saddam is noble in and of itself. I didn’t oppose the war. I opposed the ham-handed and unsophisticated occupation. One of Joe Biden’s only good ideas was to partition Iraq between the Sunnis, the Shia, and the Kurds. Except the NATO aligned Turks would never tolerate a Kurdish state and the Saudi can’t stand the idea of a Arabic-speaking Shia-run state. If the Iraqis were able to get alone with each other the way north and south Germans do – they could have joined the GCC and by now the Iraqis would be indolent diabetics like the Kuwaitis. The Qataris and Emiratis are not far behind. Surely, you appreciate that the Kuwaiti model is superior to what is in Iraq and Syria now? Trade = Peace. Business and prosperity go hand-in-hand. Yes, the Iraqis would be buying a lot of low-end consumer good from China — who cares. The big stuff comes from the North America, Japan and Europe. Large-scale engineering, industrial air-conditioning, heavy vehicles — that’s what we export to the GCC (and more than a few tanks and bombers — which I am totally cool with). The Saudis literally keep the French perfume business humming single-handedly.
        OK — end the limited liability of share-holders!?!?! WOW — that’s radical stuff. That over-turns 400 years of commercial law going back to the Dutch East India Company in the early 17th Century. I don’t know who wins with that one except maybe lawyers who can now sue a million individuals small-holders rather than simply suing a corporation. I just see a mountain of corruption and coercion in there and ending the limited liability of share-holders would probably destroy any incentive to ever invest again. Basically, we would return to the Middle Ages in one fell swoop.

      • poppaDavid

        If you want to converse with a libertarian anarchist look up Matthew Reece, he has done some of the postings on this topic. He is civil, articulate and rational. We just don’t agree on some basic premises.

        Iraq vs. North Korea.

        Iraq: no weapons, no long range delivery systems and under the thumb of an embargo. Removing Sadam released the people that his secular dictatorship had been holding down, i.e. the theocratic muslim radicals. He was the person that President Reagan called the “legitimate government of Iraq” when Iran tried to overthrow him.

        North Korea: A nuclear weapons program under UN lock at the start of the G.W. Bush presidency, that was unlocked in 2002 when Bush refused to abide by the terms of the agreement. In 2006 came the first test of a nuclear device. In 1993 N. Korea bought ten Soviet Golf class Ballistic Missile submarines. 2005 N. Korea fires short range missile. Hmm. Purchases missile carrying submarine technology. Builds nuclear weapons. Tests missiles. What could possibly go wrong?

        So Bush invades Iran and starts “talks” with North Korea.

        We had a window of opportunity when Saddam’s regime fell and L. Paul Bremer was appointed Czar of Everything. But, the 1% was too busy trying to get the oil to take advantage of it.

        Ending Limited Liability for shareholders? Yes. Under the current design shareholders require their companies to focus on profit even at the expense of third parties, because they get to see the profit, and they are shielded from liability for damages by government fiat. E.g. invest $100 in a risky process that returns $500 to shareholder. The process does $1000 in damages and the company gets sued. So what? The worst the investor can do is lose their $100.

        That is a government interference in the market that skews the strategies of investors. They see potential for unlimited return with the guarantee of limited risk to them. The real risk remains, but it is carried by external third parties who don’t share in the returns. That is called “Socializing the cost while Privatizing the profits”.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Of course Iraq didn’t have ready WMDs and delivery systems! If they did — we wouldn’t have invaded. We’re not stupid. We invaded Grenada because they didn’t have any of that stuff. We never invaded the USSR (after 1945) because they did have that stuff. You always, and only, invade a country while you still have a tactical and strategic advantage. That’s why there was never a NATO vs. Warsaw Pact war — neither side had a clear advantage. That is why we both kept probing around the edges during the Cold War: Angola, the Ogadan, Zaire, Indochina, Afghanistan, Cuba, Malaysia, Chile, Central America, Egypt … the list goes on and on.
        The US and the ROK do not have a clear advantage over the DPRK. That’s why neither will make a move. Any mistep by the ROK and a thousand artillery shells will hit Seoul within an hour. And the North knows it can’t win a protracted war with the South as long as the US and Japan are providing support. STALEMATE.
        Accidents happen when one side mis-calculates their advantage, as Germany did in both 1914 and 1939.
        I am from the Realist, Bismarckian, school of international relations.

      • poppaDavid

        You speak as if world leaders are all rational all the time. What you describe as “miscalculation” may be the phenomena known as “optimistic bias”. I just watched Tali Sharot do a TED talk on it. People may know that statistically 40% of all marriages end in divorce, but they don’t believe that statistic applies to them. I understand that it is a significant cause of injuries to fire fighters as well. I happen to believe that it applies to most criminals, they don’t believe that the laws apply to them.

        Does North Korea “know” that they cannot win a protracted war? Probably yes. Do they “believe” that they can win? Yes. They don’t believe that the United States will defend South Korea in if it means a DPRK nuclear warhead on Los Angeles.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Of course not all are rational actors — but most are. A few are delusional pyshopaths but that is not common. The DPRK knows very well that having missiles that can reach Anchoage, AK or Seattle WA, is a game changer on the Penninsula. It would be an extra insurance policy. If the North wanted to invade the South again, they would have done it at some point in the last 50 years. The South has become more and more technologically advanced. The North lags behind and they know it. Kim and his generals just want to keep their fiefs all in tact.

        Saddam miscalculated in 2002/2003. He under-estimated George Bush’s desire to invade another country and Saddam over-estimated the Iranian threat. The mixed signals were enough for hawks like Wolfowitz to pounce. That miscalculation eventually cost him his life as well as the lives of his sons.

      • poppaDavid

        You offer, “I am in that Conservative-Libertarian that is in love with Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Adam Smith, and John Locke.”

        You appreciate Adam Smith’s perspective on economics in his “The Wealth of Nations”. I haven’t found anyplace in that book that discusses externalities like pollution or climate change that damage innocent third parties. That is not to say that he had no opinion on that subject, because he did.

        “According to the system of natural liberty, the sovereign has only three duties to attend to; … secondly, the duty of protecting, as far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it,… “

        In his earlier work on the social contract, “Theory of Moral Sentiments”, he wrote extensively about justice and those who “hurt” others.

        The most sacred laws of justice, therefore, those whose violation seems to call loudest for vengeance and punishment, are the laws which guard the life and person of our neighbour; the next are those which guard his property and possessions; and last of all come those which guard what are called his personal rights, or what is due to him from the promises of others.

        Adam Smith “Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part II” II.II.12

        He was not writing about individuals protecting their life and person, he was writing about society protecting “our neighbor”.

        It follows from his statement that a government that protects life and person by punishing those who would hurt others is operating at a higher standard than one that merely protects property and possessions while ignoring those who hurt others in their pursuit of profit.

        Something similar comes from John Locke. While he was absolute on refusing to allow government to protect the individual from their own action. He was equally adamant that all men should be restrained from doing hurt to another, and that everyone has authority to proactively prevent the hurt and to retroactively punish the offender. Since each person has that right, they may consent to have the government act in their behalf on that issue.

        Sec. 7. And that all men may be restrained from invading others rights, and from doing hurt to one another, and the law of nature be observed, which willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind, the execution of the law of nature is, in that state, put into every man’s hands, whereby every one has a right to punish the transgressors of that law to such a degree, as may hinder its violation: … And if any one in the state of nature may punish another for any evil he has done, every one may do so: … what any may do in prosecution of that law, every one must needs have a right to do.

        John Locke “Second Treatise of Civil Government”, Chapter 2, Sec. 7, 1690

        In a similar vein, Milton Friedman has written in “Capitalism and Freedom” that the government has certain esstential functions, including internalizing “neighborhood effects”, i.e. external costs.

        A second general class of cases in which strictly voluntary exchange is impossible arises when actions of individuals have effects on other individuals for which it is not feasible to charge or recompense them. This is the problem of “neighborhood effects”.

        Milton Friedman, “Capitalism and Freedom” Chapter II

        Hayek in “The Road to Serfdom” allowed such coercive interventions if they are subject to neutral, abstract, generally-applicable laws.

        “Nor can certain harmful effects of deforestation, or of some methods of farming, or of the smoke and noise of factories, be confined to the owner of the property in question or to those who are willing to submit to the damage for an agreed compensation. In such instances we must find some substitute for the regulation by the price mechanism.

        Frederich Hayek, “The Road to Serfdom”

        I spend such time on this issue, because a great many Conservatives wish to eliminate the government’s efforts to require corporations to internalize the external hurt caused by singleminded pursuit of profit.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Careful with the straw men! Locke and Smith are not anarchists and those who read and appreciate them are not anarchist either. Smith was actually in government. Locke was responding to the excesses of the English Civil War and England’s first and last dictator, Cromwell.

        I think you overstate your case if you are trying to claim that one or two lines, usually out of context, can metamorphosize Locke and Hayek into Collectivists. They are individualists par excellence. My favorite “country” economically is Hong Kong and politically, it is Switzerland. Does that clarify things for you?

        Neo-Classical Liberals like myself have never been afraid to talk about negative externalities. They are real. And the courts have always been empowered to force compensation for those who can prove damages. I really don’t know what the issue is. I will take issue with the Greens who want to ban fossil fuels and nuclear power. The Green Party’s and CPUSA’s agenda (shared by many progressives) would stifle growth and innovation and force us backwards by decades. If you want to see what excessive and heavy-handed state control of an economy can do; look no further than India in it’s first 40 years after Independence. Those years were totally lost!

      • poppaDavid

        The quotes are given in the context of the books written by the authors. They both were proponents of a free market. Both were ALSO opposed to those activities that injured innocent parties. And both held that people collectively had a right and duty to protect innocent people from hurt.

        Smith wrote an entire book about the social contract, and it is available online at www dot econlib dot org slash library slash Smith slash smMS dot html. The entire Section II deals with Justice and Beneficence in society and government. And in that section he wrote that protection of life and person was a higher value than protection of property and possessions.

        He even suggested that it is appropriate to punish someone who threw a large stone over a wall into a public street for “insolent contempt of the happiness and safety others. … Gross negligence therefore is, in the law, said to be almost equal to malicious design.” (II.III.21)

        Locke’s The Second Treatise on Civil Government is available at www dot constitution dot org slash jl slash 2ndtr00 dot htm. The entire chapter II deals with man in the State of Nature, and he discusses the difference between liberty and license. He insists that government MAY NOT interfere with a person’s personal behavior UNLESS it affects innocent third parties. And then he absolutely says that every person has a right to put a stop that behavior. Even more, he says that they may put into effect measures that the prevent future “hurt”.

        They may have been individualists, but they did live in society and they were conscious of the problems caused by those who hurt innocent third parties in their social and economic dealings.

      • Patrick Joseph Klocek

        I am well familiar with those works and with importance that both Locke and Smith placed on a civil public culture. But both were steadfast free marketeers in a day when markets were not free and when the 17th Century of Crony Capitalism (Mercantilism) was in fashion. You must remember the context in which Smith and Locke were writing. They were reacting to the restrictions of the day in which royal monopolies were chartered and enforced — you alluded to such in an earlier post. Smith and Locke opposed these.
        Locke is a champion of freedom and of free thinking — again, the context of his day when heresy and blasphemy was still punishable crimes. What I see you doing is vastly expanding the notion of what “hurting an innocent party” actually means. I see your definition as being outrageously broad.

      • poppaDavid

        Yes both were champions of freedom and free thinking. They also were champions of responsible action. They allowed that civil organizations could enforce punishment for irresponsible actions and that the civil organizations could take actions to prevent irresponsible actions because the civil organizations got their power from people and people have those powers from nature.

        You suggest that my comments on “hurting an innocent party” is overly broad. Smith said that a person could be punished for throwing a heavy stone even if it didn’t hit anyone. He was talking of punishing an act that only had the potential for injury. That IS pretty broad.

        Smith and Locke believed that the free market would deliver corrective actions against bad actors. Both believed that civil organizations had the power to act against bad actors as well.

      • poppaDavid

        “And the courts have always been empowered to
        force compensation for those who can prove damages. I really don’t know what the issue is.”

        I should not need to go to court for damages after you have done it. I should not need to prove damages.

        The issue is permission. If you don’t have a contract with me to dump chemicals into my water supply, you don’t have permission. One of the marks of a free market is my right to say “no” to an exchange that isn’t in my interests, and pollution isn’t in my interests.

        You are concerned that pollution controls will “stifle growth and innovation and force us backwards by decades”? So, your answer is to use the power of government to force us to accept pollution because that is “good for us”? How Socialist.

        How about actually using the principles of the free market. Include the full cost of the good in the price, including the cost of eliminating the pollutants, and let the market decide if the product is really desired.

      • Patrick Joseph Klocek

        My concern with your comments is the potential for reduction ad absurdum with the claim of pollution. Everything causes pollution and therefore you most assuredly need to prove tangible damages. Bovine flatulence is most likely a bigger cause of AGW than CO2. A campfire, complete with roasting hot dogs and sticks, is significantly worse for particulate matter than an SUV. In the name of stopping pollution, you are literally empowering ANYBODY and EVERYBODY to stop ANYTHING that they don’t like. Don’t like your neighbor? Declare him a gross polluter because he enjoys his BBQ too much for your taste. That is where your argument is going.
        I actually live in the 3rd World (strangely) and the peasant farmers across the road from me practice slash-and-burn agriculture. It’s awful. It fills my job site with smoke. I actually thought our building was on fire once. But they need to clear off their brush before the monsoons arrive and get their seeds planted. They need to enrich the soil a bit to get better crop yields. There are mornings where my whole valley are choked with smoke. Yeah, I don’t like it. But these are people persist on less money per day than I spend on an uninspiring dinner for
        myself.
        Do those farmers damage my lungs? YOU BET THEY DO! But even a small increase in crop yields for them is often the difference between them having shoes or going bare foot (which many do). I will hold my breath or cover my mouth with a rag. Everything causes pollution. We “pollute” with our CO2 (though, oddly, when I was a kid at school CO2 was never considered a pollutant). Even our bones pollute the soil when we die — when we break down we pace trace elements into the ground that ought not be there.
        Economics is the study of trade-offs. For every exchange, there is a trade off or “opportunity cost.” If you want modernity, if your want the 1st World lifestyle — you are going to need to accept some pollution. Sorry. And if you are a 1st World resident, and you don’t want 3rd World people to climb to the level of the 1st World (which causes pollution) so you think we should obstruct them by cutting off their cheap fossil fuels — well then … there is a special place in hell for those people.

      • poppaDavid

        Do you realize that you talk like a socialist? You tell me that you need to give up your health and standard of living for the good of the poor people in the society where you live.

        More than that, you are pushing your socialism unto me by telling me that I need to accept pollution because you have decided that I need a modern lifestyle.

        I happen to believe that the real standard of living is measured by the health of your family, the quality of the food you eat, the stimulating nature of your job, the safety of your community, the variety of interesting people you meet, the respect of your peers, and the new ideas that educate you daily. It has nothing to do with some arbitrary standard of consumption of manufactured goods and luxury services.

        Let us be accurate here about pollution. You and I both eat food, drink fluids, breathe air, defecate and die. And the world could still be in a dynamic balance for CO2, water, plants, etc. when we do.

        Instead people dredge up fossil carbon and burn it. They dredge up various metals, smelter part of them into the atmosphere, use the rest for a short period of time, and then dump finished product as trash without recovering the valuable metals. They collect clean water, purify it further, wash processed goods, dump that contaminated water into a sewer, and then get more clean water and purify it. In each case the people burning the fossil fuels, dumping the metals, and dumping the waste water do so because it is cheaper to get new materials than it is to clean and reuse their waste. Which means they have externalized a cost and someone else gets to deal with the pollution.

        When that pollution causes harm through health or hazard it qualifies as an economic cost that should be internalized to the polluter so that the free market could properly function.

        I don’t know where you work. But, if people are doing slash burns, I would guess they are clearing land for one of three reasons. They may be clearing land for subsistence agriculture because they depleted the soil on their old farm. They may be clearing land for new farmers because their birth rate is above replacement levels. They are clearing land to put into cultivation of monoculture export crops to satisfy 1st world nations insistence for coffee, out of season foods, and inexpensive meat. Statistically, I would guess that clearing land for monoculture crops for export is the most likely real reason. If that is a correct guess, then working that land will never give them a 1st world standard of living(consumption).

      • Patrick Klocek

        Sorry for the slow reply — I am making my slow return to the US for the Summer.
        I appreciate the things that you say make up quality-of-life. Those things are similar for me too. I am not a great consumerist. But I also appreciate that those are First World standards. People only worry about the quality of their food once they have enough to actually eat. They talk about living simple lives only once their roof isn’t a plastic tarp and their walls make of discarded pieces of plywood or corrugated tin. I have the luxury of rejecting consumerism because both of my sons have clothes. Most of the kids under 2 y/o don’t wear anything but a tattered and ripped shirt and they defecate in the street. This is my regular view as I walk home everyday. I want to give them a right to live an austere life if they want. I will bet you a million rupees that 99.9% would trade lives with me without so much as a seconds thought.
        The only way those people are going to stop living in dirt and filth (they bathe in a small, fetid creek) is by exports, free enterprise, abundant cheap energy (fossil fuels) and their own determination. The Indian government has launched program after program since 1947 and all they managed to get was something like zero-growth for 40 years and slow growth for 15 years. They have had about 5 years of good growth but, like Mainland China, they need 30 years of it — not five. In 1945, China and India were at the same levels. The difference between Shanghai and Mumbai is as shocking as it is depressing.
        Now, on to my farmers: You are correct only in that the majority of the 3rd World agriculture is giving over to cash-crop cultivation. But you are wrong in the specific case. India is not exporting squat. India is not a major, or even minor, exporter of food crops. Their infrastructure is rotten to the core so they can’t get their products to the local market nevermind Japan or Europe. I can’t get a good banana at any price. I watch the farmers hoeing by hand so I am guessing that they are doing onions. Those are big business here. They also plant some sort of wheat crop as animal fodder. They keep cows. Indians don’t eat beef but they do like their dairy products. The farmers are trying to juice their yields a bit.
        I also don’t doubt that their soils are depleted. This is the tropics. The soils are always depleted. They are short on organic matter due to the fast rates of decomposition and the heavy rainfalls. They would all be better off moving to Iowa. It takes effort to deplete deep, organic soils like those. Anyway, the rainy season in India is starting so the fires will stop.
        Now, you are right that working that land will never give them a 1st world standard of living. That’s just a small part of it. They need exports. They need to mechanize their manual labor dependent farms. New Zealand is a model of how an agricultural economy can still have a 1st world standard of living. The Indians also need to improve their transportation network (unimproved since the bloody British left) and invest in better storage facilities with modern refigeration. We have had that in the West for over 100 years now. That’s how Argentina was supplying beef to the British Empire during World War I. India can’t even supply bananas to the local market 500 hundred miles away without them spoiling. In economics, we call that a “Market Failure.” But markets don’t fail because of any intrinsic problems with capitalism; they fail because some force (usually the state) is obstructing the market in the name of “planning” or “fairness” or saving the people from capitalism/communism — take your pick.
        Every time I see a poor Indian living in squalor (which is pretty regularly), I get angry at their government for condemning the people to that fate. The Indians spend 40 years chasing the autarkic dream of “self sufficiency.” China did too — until Deng Xioaping came to power in 1978. The richest countries in the world — the ones were people can obsess about whether or not their sprouts are organic or not — are once that are deeply intertwined in international trade. My home-away-from-home in Asia, Hong Kong, lives and dies by trade and the Hong Kongers live a nice life. And the social-democratic states of Western Europe learned decades ago that the only way to support bloated wellfare states was to export finished products at a near-demonic rate. Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, and even Luxembourg are aggressive exporters. They don’t just re-distribute the wealth that they found lying about (like the Russians did) — they actively create more just so they have something to redistribute.
        “PoppaDave” — I have enjoyed our discussion tremendously so far.

      • poppaDavid

        I did some looking. In 1991 India adopted a free market economy. At the time both India and China had about 5% annual GDP growth and about the same GDP per capita.

        Since then India’s exports have grown from 10% of GDP to 20% of GDP, imports exceeded exports. Overall GDP grew about 6.5% annually.

        China’s exports have grown from 15% of GDP to 30% of GDP, exports exceeded imports. Overall GDP grew about 8.8% annually.

        Over the same time, Brazil’s exports always exceeded 50% of GDP, exports exceeded imports. Their GDP grew 2-3% annually.

        China is a planned economy that allows some free enterprise. India and Brazil are free market economies. Over that time, Chinese GDP per capita grew at about twice the rate of India because the Chinese population grew at a slower rate.

        Your suggestion of “exports, free enterprise” doesn’t appear to be the reason for China doing better than both India and Brazil.

        Regarding your suggestion that the farmers need to “mechanize their manual labor farms”. No. That is the solution for the American prairie states where land was large and labor was small and fuel was inexpensive. Read a copy of “The One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka. He had yields equivalent to the best mechanized, fertilized, “pesticided” farms in Japan without those inputs, and the quality of the land improved under his care. It doesn’t make money for international chemical companies, it doesn’t saddle the farmers you observe with ruinous debt, and it is appropriate to small scale privately owned, free enterprise farms.

        You support “abundant cheap energy”, so do I. It is called “sunshine”. Everything else is more expensive and less available, and should be used as appropriate. Fossil fuels appear cheap because so many of the costs are not included in the selling price. That is a market problem. Saudi Arabia includes the cost of their military in the selling price of their crude oil. The United States doesn’t. The cost of climate change isn’t included in either.

        Quickly. Over the climate record, temperatures and CO2 levels have varied. Temperature change has always *led* CO2 change, with the exception of the last two centuries. Now CO2 is leading Temperature change. Which means that a different process is in play. The regular process still exists, so after we get a temperature rise due to anthropomorphic CO2 increase, we will get additional CO2 release and higher temperatures again due to the feed back loop as the higher temperatures drive CO2 out of permafrost, ice and sea water.

        Melting ice and thermal expansion of the oceans will raise sea levels. The farmers of Bangladesh will pay part of the cost for “cheap fossil fuel” as their lands flood or become saline. The people of Bangladesh will lose a food resource. What is the geo-political cost of that?

        Trade in any manufactured good requires the input of raw resources. No resource is unlimited and all resources become more expensive to extract, in terms of input resources, as the easily available resources are consumed. When you do the economics of raising everyone in the world to the level of the U.S. consumption, you should see that various resources become depleted rather quickly.

        Anyone who advocates that the world should consume at the rate of the U.S., should provide a description of how that can be maintained. I offer that it requires costing resources at their replacement/recovery cost rather than their extraction cost, and that all energy sources need to include the recover of environmental impacts.

        Some people don’t like socialism because it transfers monetary wealth from the rich to the poor. I don’t like pollution because it transfers non-monetary wealth from the poor to the rich.

      • Patrick Klocek

        There is a lot in your above post and my current location (Manila) doesn’t allow me the time to address all of the points as fully as they deserve to be addressed. I will be in Guam next week.
        Economies are complex system. One variable is not enough to judge them. Hong Kong is a free market, and as you said, India is a “free market” too, so why does the average Hong Konger earn 10x that of the average Indian? Both were British colonies until recently. Both are non-white (actaully, northern Indians are pretty white). Why the different outcomes? I know for a fact the outcomes are different because last week I had dinner in Mumbai and breakfast in Hong Kong. BIG DIFFERENCE! Daron Acemoglu, John Landes, Niall Ferguson, Thomas Piketty, and Jared Diamond all wrote books about this in the last couple years (Piketty’s is the only one I haven’t read) and each one has different reasons.

        I haven’t been to Brazil and so don’t know their economy well. I suspect they were a much more highly developed economy 20 years ago than either China or India are even today. Therefore, it is harder to get 8% growth. Poland (from memory) never got more than 5% but that was super-fast for a relatively developed economy. The Indian transport system still features “woman walking down the street with bucket on her head” as a means of delivering produce. There is nowhere to go but UP in a situation like that. Brazil and Poland are long past that stage.
        The only Indian city I know is Mumbai. But the Mainland Chinese cities I have visited (Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, and the SEZs) are all decades ahead of India. So, why?
        The command nature of the Mainland (but not the Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) economy does go a long way to explaining this. China has a history of autocracy. India has a history of decentralized rule and an entrenched bureaucracy. The CCP has a lot of freedom to dam rivers, expropriate land, ignore airborn toxins (I sneezed and coughed through four years in Hong Kong thanks to the factories in Guangdong). Clean air is a luxury of people in rich countries. In India, nothing happens without a prolonged court case — sometimes lasting a decade. The CCP made the same choice as me. I popped anti-alergy pills for four years. The Chinese went from dirt poor to high-end developing world — not quite to “mid level” where Brazil and Chile are today. Give the PRC a couple more years — they’ll make it.
        India is a basket case with or without a free market. Rice, onions, and compressed natural gas (CNG — used for cooking) are all heavily subsidized by the state. That’s not a trait of a “free market” by any stretch. The new PM, Modi, promises to introduce more free market reforms. But you see, that subsidized CNG is important. Without it, people can’t cook. If their food and water are not properly cooked, they get dysentary and, in the case of children under two, they generally die. Without CNG, the people have to collect firewood. Burning firewood is dirty so after years of burning it, repiratory problems set in. Do you still want to take away their cheap fossil fuels?
        And solar is not cheap! It’s the most expensive fuel source there is. Sure, the sunlight itself is free. But the solar panel needed to collect it and turn it into energy will set the average Indian back about five thousand dollars. In other words, it will cost the average Indian about 3.5x their total yearly pay. Would you be so cavelier about asking Americans to cough up 150K each to “save the Earth?”
        Can everyone on Earth consume at the rate of Americans and Europeans — maybe not. But I am not about to tell all those dark-skinned people in the Philippines or India or Angola that prosperity is “whites only.” Everyone deserves a chance at prosperity, not just those lucky enough to have been born west of the Curzon Line and north of the Rio Grande.
        So, I would just plow ahead with development and worry about CO2 later. Really, I don’t think the warmer temperatures are a huge problem. Higher temperatures (and CO2) mean better crop yields. As nations industrialize and become educated and prosperous, fertility declines. The problem of Bangladesh may work itself out before you know it.
        But a core trait of many Conservatives is their optimism for humanity. I plead guilty to this too. Where Marxists have always seen collapse around the corner — Classical Liberals like myself have always seen good times around the corner. I foresee a future where the Earth’s population steadily declines and American-style prosperity becomes the norm even if Africa and South Asia. I see dirty industries moving off-world (the moon, the asteroids, Earth orbit, and maybe even Mars). I foresee the Earth more and more as a place where people retire or an ever dwindling number have
        families.
        That future is still science fiction but it is a very real possibility in the next 50-100 years. But none of that happens without more capital and wealth accumulation first. Companies are already planning how to exploit the mineral deposits on near-Earth asteroids and the moon. A fabulous future awaits my two young sons if we just push a little further ahead.

      • poppaDavid

        Regards the future and CO2. When the temperature rises, the ocean rises and floods places like Bangladesh’s farms. That isn’t a good way for “the problem of Bangladesh may work itself before you know it”.

        Your optimism is unwarranted. Development of a new technology takes two decades for it to achieve general use. For example, transistors were invented in 1947. In 1959 IBM built 7 computers using transistors rather than tubes. In 1964 IBM introduces System/360 for mass use of business computing.

        DARPA started research that led to the internet in 1962. The first public demonstration of ARPANET was in 1972. In 1983 MILNET and ARPANET split which set the stage for the current internet.

        The technologies that need to be in place by 2034 need to exist today and need to be in funded development programs today. The birthrate changes need to be present today to affect population levels in twenty years. The technologies that will address pollution issues in China, India, etc. already need to be in the queue today for installation new construction to affect pollution levels in ten and twenty years.

        Not to say that it cannot happen ever. I am saying that it isn’t happening now because too many people are saying that we can wait.

        You offer that there are plans to mine asteroids and the moon, the materials recovered need to be more valuable than diamonds and platinum, because the fuel cost is more than that.

        Is solar cheap or expensive? Over half of American home energy use uses low quality heat for space heat, water heat and clothes dryers. Solar can replace those without the expense your referenced. And the United States could adopt those technologies as a leader instead of insisting that we burn fossil fuels and expect others to follow us.

      • poppaDavid

        Enjoy Guam, “Where America’s Day Begins”.

        Our submarine was forward based out of Guam back in the Cold War. All the poisonous animals are in the water, like anemone, jelly fish, etc.

      • poppaDavid

        You are concerned about freedom of action, and the ownership of raw materials.

        Private property is owned because individuals own their life and work, and since the goods that they produce embody their life, it falls under private ownership. A corollary is “you don’t own what you didn’t create unless you acquire it from the legitimate owner in a voluntary transaction”. No one creates natural goods like land or natural resources, so they have no embodied human life and are not in the same category as private property created by human effort.

        There are a variety of theories about the distribution of natural goods. Most involve some form of violence, force, or coercion. Which means distribution of natural goods typically involves some form of government.

        Freedom of action has always been subject to limits. From a libertarian perspective, the initiation of force, violence or coercion is not allowed. Fraud is not allowed. Freedom of action in the production of goods does not include externalizing expenses by dumping waste products unto unwilling or unknowing third parties. Nor does it allow misrepresentation of a product. It is appropriate for people to form civil institutions to resist such trespass, violence and fraud against them. It is appropriate to use government institutions for that function.

        It is possible that a socialist approach could be used to distribute land and resources. It is likely that regulation of production for content, honesty, and pollution is a form of socialism.

      • poppaDavid

        You don’t like the concept that our government shares in the wealth that it has helped to create?

        When a business creates a mall, shopping center, or other marketplace they charge rent for businesses that want to sell in that market. If it is a good market then businesses that access that market can create wealth. Some property owners negotiate a “Percentage Rent” with their tennants where the business that created the market gets a share in the wealth created by businesses in that marketplace.

        Our government has been a partner in the creation of the American marketplace. Our Constitution says that the government may levy taxes to fund the programs that provide for our defence and promote our general welfare. The contract is in place and it says that the government may tax the wealth. You want to restrict payment to the cost of goods provided. The Constitution doesn’t restrict Congressional tax authority to those taxes that you like.

      • Patrick Joseph Klocek

        The Congress has the power to levy taxes — not the other branches. That is true. But you made an intellectual leap when you said that the Constitution can tax wealth. The Congress may levy taxes to provide for the common defense and to provide “public goods.” Now, I for one have issues with the personal income tax which was added over a century later. But I will leave that for now. My deep philosophical issue with you is about the government’s right to a share of my wealth or the government right to levy specific taxes. There is a profound difference between those two positions.

        The “share of the wealth” position is an open-ended right of the government to the fruits of my labor. I favor the deeply restricted right of the government to raise taxes. The open-ended right to revenue is a temptation to the state to start tax-farming, a medieval custom that destroyed more than a few states and empires from within by ruining incentives.

        This gets to the core of our differing worldviews. Progressives see the government as the manifestation of the public’s will. Libertarians like myself see the government as the greatest potential threat to individual freedoms since the development of hereditary monarchs. The intentions and actions of governments should all be held suspect. And the bigger and more remote the authority, the more removed from the individual it is, the more government’s intentions should be suspect.

        Right now, we have about one representative in Washington for every 700,000 to 900,000 people. I would prefer to see that number be around 1 to 100,000 – 250,000. That would allow the voters to literally KNOW their congressman as opposed to simply picking whoever had the slickest add campaign. Proportionally, we are giving fewer and fewer people more and more control over our lives. I do not know why this doesn’t alarm you.

      • poppaDavid

        Unless you were a personal friend of our President in his 20’s, you likely have no reason to use “Barry”. Obviously it is an attempt to insult our President.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Oh good lord! “PoppaDavid” has suddenly turned into “Ms.Manners.” Look, if I had a dime for every time Liberals called the great President Reagan “Ronnie” and tried to imply that he was senile — I would be rich today. Furthermore, if I was similarly compensated every time liberals and progressives used even more colorful epithets to refer to President George Bush (the Commander-in-Thief) or his vice president, Dick Cheney, I would be far richer still. So, feel free to disable your turbo-sanctimony chip. I will continue to refer to the current president as “Barry” just as I referred to our last, decidedly mediocre, president simply as “W.”

      • poppaDavid

        This is Memorial Weekend and we recognize the sacrifices that allow you to exercise your freedom of speech. If insulting people makes you feel more important, go ahead. I doubt that such insults improve the quality of anyone’s argument, be it liberal, conservative, or other.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Oh please — three generations of my family, of which I am the third, has worn the uniform of the US Army. I don’t need to civic lesson. I assure you that the abuse that I have been subject to for espousing conservative positions is far, far greater than anything you will hear from me. And that George Bush suffered much worse slanders at the hands of Progressives than even TEA Partiers like myself have dished out.

      • poppaDavid

        After the Northern Alliance removed the Taliban President G.W. Bush failed to complete the mission and remove Al Qaeda, and he failed to deliver on his promise to rebuild the Afghan infrastructure, setting the stage for the re-emergence of the Taliban. Instead he diverted money, men and material in preparation for the invasion of Iraq which put thousands of American military at risk, for no good reason. At the same time, he encouraged North Korea to unlock their nuclear weapons development program and build a working bomb.

        He was an Oil Man and he was working for the oil industry’s interests. That got several thousand American military killed, injured and shell shocked. It weakened our position in the Middle East, and has set us up for problems in East Asia.

        Telling his history isn’t slander.

      • Patrick Klocek

        I will see your biased history and raise it with my own biases! 😉

        There is a lot to debate there. The most central point is to disentangle Al-Qaida from the Taliban and to properly understand what exactly Al-Qaida was. Al-Qaida was never an army or a nation — it was an ideology. The only way to defeat an ideology is by replacing it with an alternative ideology. This is what happened in Europe in 1989.

        The Taliban were militarily defeated by combined US and Northern Alliance forces but the Taliban should not be understood as the “government of Afghanistan” but rather as the nationalist manifestation of the Pashtun people. Afghanistan is an artificial and accidental construction of the British and Russian in the 19th Century. It was simply the buffer between their two expanding empires. I see the Taliban is simply an expression of the national sentiments of the Pashtun people who just happen to live on both sides of the Af-Pak border. Their counter weight are the Tadjik peoples who exist on both sides of the Afghanistan-Tadjikistan border.

        I believe peace will ensue NOT with infrastructure re-building but rather with a fulfilling of national aspirations of those two peoples. Because here we need to account for Islamic culture. Islam refuses to accept “nationalism” as a movement and considers it haram. To that extent, Pashtuns and Tadjiks developed slightly differing interpretation of Islam and then they feel free to slit each other’s throats over those differences. But those often esoteric differences are simply cover for the pan-national aspirations of the Pashtun people (AFG and PAK) and the Tadjik people (AFG and Tadjikistan).
        But Afghanistan isn’t going anywhere because Tadjikistan is too weak to absorb northeast Afghanistan into its own corrupt and dysfunctional state. And Pakistan will never surrender its strategic depth against it hated and eternal foe — Hindu India.
        The Bush Administration failed to see this. The Obama Administration is equally clueless and has actively and mindlessly undermined Karzai’s position as a Pashtun sympathetic to the Tadjiks.

        As for Iraq. It had only mild value. The Americans and British needed a new base in the Persian Gulf with which to oversea the sea lanes and maintain peace. We were doing that from Saudi Arabia. After 9/11, our position in the Kingdom was untenable. We had to position our forces elsewhere. We opted for the bold move of moving our forces into Iraq so as to effectively block any Iranian expansion into the Gulf. Our goal was also to relieve pressure on the House of Saud for hosting infidels in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques. The war was also Kuwaiti revenge for the 1990-1991 occupation. They got that for free! The Americans usually don’t see when the Kuwaitis, the Saudis, or the Pakistanis are playing them.

        The Iraq war was also about spreading a US-style consumer culture to Iraq and getting Iraq’s oil back on the market. The US makes loads of money selling cars, and weapons, and donuts, and household appliances to GCC countries. I do not doubt that Bush wanted to expand that market. Add to that the fact that Saddam was an evil dictator whose sons like deflowering random Iraqi girls and then hurling them from roof tops — toppling him remains, in my mind, a noble enough cause.
        But again, Bush didn’t understand the fissures inside of Iraq and the artificiality of the Iraqi state. There was never an Iraqi nation. There was only territory ruled over by the Ottomans and seized by the British in 1918. All of those nation-states in that region are artificial constructs — except Israel.

        I do find much fault with Bush AND Obama in this area. Though I suspect we will not agree on what those faults are.

      • poppaDavid

        You give a good overview of Afghanistan. However, I must disagree with your description of what is commonly known as “Al Qaeda”. That Al Qaeda is an organization of humans sharing a common ideal. Yes, you defeat an ideal by presenting a better one, or by removing from society every person who is capable of presenting the idea in a favorable light.

        That said, the United States had made certain promises to the Northern Alliance and Afghanistan in general to rebuild infrastructure. The honor associated with keeping your word is an ideal that is highly respected, and our failure to keep our word lowered our status in that region, and it kept in place the poverty that feeds revolution.

  • Jeffrey Hanson

    The problem is that the more regulations that are put in place, the more entrenched the Big Businesses get and the less small businesses and individuals are able to create competition against the Big Businesses. The Big Businesses are the only ones who have the resources to comply with beaurocratic regulations like Sarbanes/Oxley, Dodd/Frank, Obamacare, etc. These regulations do little to protect the individual and add enormous costs to doing buisiness which Big Business is happy to pass along to the consumer. Conservatives want a “smaller” government not “No” government. They want most of the Government influence to come from local and state Governments (which provide Fire, Police, Roads, Education, and Infrstructure) and less from the Federal Government which loves to put their little Pork projects into every bill they pass.

    • balance

      True, but they had to corrupt the government in the first place to get to the point where they control their own regulations. We could kick them out and clean it up and put them on strong leashes.

      • MrLightRail

        It’s already entered the State level.

    • Mona Johnson

      and the state and local governments are no less corrupt then the fed.

  • Patryk

    Why does it always seem that every story written here was composed by a college freshman?

    • SyntheticPhylum

      They are written in such a way in the HOPE that the under-educated masses of conservative trolls could actually comprehend the words on their screens and possibly understand that their philosophy is not only flawed, but dangerous to the country that they claim to love. Sadly, this is not the case, and all we see from them is their blind trumpeting of their “facts,” which most of them only know because Faux News spoon-fed them the data that they wanted to see, slanted just right for their narrow, blighted viewpoint.

      • Patrick Klocek

        It is actually the Democrats who derived much of their support from the least educated classes. The TEA Party faction is better educated than the average American. The TEA Party is a movement of the middle and the upper-middle class.

  • MP

    Then explain why all corporate special interests didn’t dump billions upon billions of dollars towards Ron Paul’s campaign? It Is NOT because he wasn’t “electable”… someone with an endless supply of money *becomes extremely* electable.

    • balance

      They’re testing it by hiding their backing of him, for now. If they openly pour the money in, everyone would see who he works for. They’re paving the way for anonymous donations, etc. via Citizens United & such.

      • Chuck Reed

        Paul knows who the kochs are and what their agenda is?

  • Matthew Reece

    Deregulating makes perfect sense because the regulations were written by the people who are using them to screw over everyone else. That is the whole point of lobbying: to bribe politicians to commit crimes on one’s behalf that one could never commit on one’s own without facing economic ostracism or even economic excommunication at the hands of an outraged public.

    Also, government is inherently inefficient and corrupt because it does not have to deal with the profit and loss mechanism that people and businesses in a free market have to deal with. Government is a violent criminal enterprise whose agents obtain money at gunpoint, whether or not the services provided in return are satisfactory to the victims of theft and slavery (aka taxation).

    As for voting, I will refer you to Lysander Spooner and Emma Goldman: A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years, and if voting changed anything, they would make it illegal.

    • balance

      True, but they had to corrupt the government in the first place to get to the point where they control their own regulations. We could kick them out and clean it up and put them on strong leashes.

      • Matthew Reece

        You can’t cut out part of a malignant cancerous tumor, tell the remainder to behave, and expect the patient to be fine. All of the cancer must be removed.

      • sugaronmytongue

        Somalia worked well.

      • Matthew Reece

        Actually, Somalia is working better than most people think. It is not an example of market anarchism, however. There are too many warlords and UN “peacekeepers” interfering and keeping that from happening.

      • sugaronmytongue

        As did Argentina, Bolivia… New Zealand.. Russia..Fail.

    • Chuck Reed

      I much prefer a government that is by and for the people then a CEO whos primary goal is to make co and himself rich!

      • Matthew Reece

        That is because you do not understand how a truly free market works. The motivation of profit means the CEO has to provide good products and services at reasonable prices, while avoiding the use of force, fraud, and coercion, which will damage his reputation and make him personally liable. We don’t see this now because of the state-granted legal fiction called a limited liability corporation. In a free society, a person is completely responsible for his or her actions.

        Note: A common objection to this is that a business owner would not do business if he or she could lose everything at any time, but this problem is almost completely solved by not entering into a contract with a customer who would demand no limit to liability. I say “almost completely” because we are all mortal, which means any of us could lose everything at any time, for a reason having nothing to do with commerce.

      • teamrn

        Chuck Reed- do you really believe that we have a government that is by and for the people? Where have you been the past 10-20 years?

  • RevNowWhileWeCan

    You forget to mention that a lot of these big business would NOT exist in a free market because they are constantly being bailed out by gov’t. (US taxpayers). End the bailouts for ALL businesses and the market will fall into place and the flailing big businesses won’t be able to add to campaigns that continue the vicious cycle. Not very difficult a concept.

    • Chuck Reed

      i didnt see private industrialists or energy barons jump in with solutions or cash!

      • Charles Vincent

        Let me give you some perspective chuck. If bill gates donates every cent of his total worth to the US government to cover all operating expenses his money could only run the country for ~7 days. In fact if you took the entire net worth of every company in the US and did the same thing you might fund the government for ~6 months before the coffers were empty.

      • teamrn

        Chuck (Reed), did you read the post below by Charles Vincent? More than one grain of truth.

    • birdman

      are you telling me we should have let businesses like gm fail, allowing tens of thousands of americans to lose their jobs? sure the government tends to throw taxpayer money around (quite the understatement) but some of these bailouts were in the best interests of our country as a whole

      • teamrn

        You bet we should have let GM fail. It wasn’t doing it’s work efficiently, operating las smooth as it could. You say tens of thousands of Americans lost their jobs. What about the millions of Americans still unemployed. To them 10,000 is a drop in the bucket. If you have a business and begn to fail, you’d hope that maybe your family and friends would do what THEY CAN to prevent your demise. But is that what you expect from your government. Does the gravy train EVER stop?

  • Demosthenes

    The so called ‘small government’ argument is more often than not just an euphemism for ‘I don’t want to pay taxes’. In the end it’s a self-serving position that rarely has to do with ‘government’ at all.

    That said, the real point here is that ‘big business’ and government have become synonymous. When corporations have the ‘freedom of speech’ and 60% of Super PAC money (approx. $366 MILLION) was provided by 132 Americans it should be self evident that our government is no longer ‘of the people and by the people’. Regardless of your views on the issues, conservative or liberal. It should also be obvious your issues are not being reviewed on their merits by a democratic government, but are instead being manipulated by the agenda’s of a few wealthy and powerful people/corporations…

    • I disagree; the ‘small government’ discussion (not an argument) is a position, a position that conservatives feel that the Constitutional framers had that in mind when drafting out Constitution and government.

      I agree that government is no longer ‘for the people, etc’ but I disagree that has anything to do with the wealthy. It has everything to do with Americans ALLOWING their government to get bigger and bigger and bigger; their Constitutional rights to be chipped away because they don’t study or aren’t aware of the issues.

      • Demosthenes

        Lol- I am always amazed by those that can’t see the forest for the trees…

        Just for the sake of ‘discussion’ (wouldn’t want to use ‘argument’, lest I be corrected again for some arbitrary reason that only you can guess at) let us suppose that it is the size of government and its ‘chipping’ effect that is the problem.

        Who then caused this government to get so large and ‘chippy’. Might it have been the rich? The wealthy that throw money at our elections and politicians? Those that have all the power in Washington, perhaps?

        NO! You say (yes, I can hear you all the way over here). It is the poor! THE LEAST POWERFUL OF US. The ones that demand their government hand outs. Yes, that must be it!

        Never mind that tax subsidies to the rich cost this country far more than social programs ever could. Never mind that the idea that other countries have better tax structures for business than we do is patently absurd. Never mind that the strongest economies in the world right now have much better social programs, economic mobility, health care, and YES, higher taxes than we do. Never mind all of those things. It MUST be because our government is too large and ‘chippy’.

        Got it. Thanks for the enlightenment! You can go back to Rush Limbaugh/ Ayn Rand land now, and take your Gilded Age economic mentality with you…

      • Patrick Klocek

        This was not an impressive reply. I can only assume here that you have heard many ideas, few of which you truly understand, and thought that if you threw them all up in the air at the same time then they would magically form a coherent argument. I am sorry to report; they did not.

      • Aldous Huxley

        Well Patrick, I wasn’t just responding to this one post of Ms. Nowlin’s. I took the time to read several of her other posts before opening my mouth. Something perhaps you should try. Still though, way to jump to a fallacious conclusion, kudos!

      • teamrn

        If you read previous posts, for sure you’d have a few thoughts on them. Since you didn’t write them, I doubt that you really did and had me marked for some other reason and your criticism of Patryck is baseless.

        I’m not so sure that you’re WILLING to consider looking at things a different way. Isn’t it easier to stay with the norms and mores that we know?

      • teamrn

        If you read previous posts, for sure you’d have a few thoughts on them. Since you didn’t write them, I doubt that you really did and had me marked for some other reason and your criticism of Patryck is baseless.

        I’m not so sure that you’re WILLING to consider looking at things a different way. Isn’t it easier to stay with the norms and mores that we know?

      • teamrn

        It really doesn’t matter WHO caused the government to get larger or what forces led to it’s enlargement. I disagree that it was the rich. I believe that over the nearly 230 years, so many social programs have been added, that we need, some that IMHO we don’t need.

        However, that is besides the point. The government reached a certain size and the finger pointing of who caused the problem is TOTALLY AND UTTERLY useless. We learn from history and move on.

        What forest am I not seeing through the trees? What forest am I refusing to see through the trees? You think I’m impressed by the famed moniker? Think again.

      • Aldous Huxley

        Look at Denmark for example. They have some of the best income mobility (meaning if you’re born poor you are more likely to die wealthy) in the world, about twice as likely than in the US. They have one of the highest minimum wages (around $20 per/hr) in the world. Universal health care. Universal unemployment, universal retirement, absurdly cheap and modern public transportation, free education to the university level, and not surprisingly one of the highest happiness indexes in the world. Of course they also have around a 60% tax rate (that applies equally to the rich) to pay for all this.

        That is the ‘forest’ you’re not seeing for the trees. The fact that when the government works for the people it’s ‘size’ is irrelevant. The fact that when your government is not controlled by plutocrats and in the inanely small minded, GREAT things can be accomplished for the good of the entire nation. Not just the lucky few.

        Your humble opinions are irrelevant. It’s not opinions that matter it’s FACTS. STOP spouting anserine opinions regurgitated from your favorite demagogue and EDUCATE yourself on the FACTS. Look at the history of the US. Especially the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Which strongly resemble the state of the nation today. With its insane inequality in wealth (and power). Look at how the unregulated market and lack of social programs nearly destroyed the nation in the 1920’s. Look at the income distribution and social programs in failed sociological paradigms (like Imperialism, Leninism, Monarchism). THEN look at how other societies that are excelling in education, finance, health and happiness are doing things different.

        What you will find CONSISTENTLY is that when social programs are dissolved or nonexistent. When there are huge disparities in wealth and political power. When the poor are forgotten or marginalized it ALWAYS signals a decline in (if not the destruction of) that society.

        Will you do that? I’m certain you will not. To do so would be to challenge your cherished assumptions and opinions. To do so would mean standing up to all those around you that continually reaffirm your ignorance as not only acceptable but desirable. No, if you were the type to educate yourself in facts rather than opinions you would have already done so and then come to similar conclusions.

        As for you being impressed by my moniker, I could care less. It’s not there to impress. So get in whatever childish little last remark you like to make yourself feel better. I’m done with you, but I’ll leave you with this one last little fact: It is not social programs or the size of government that is destroying this country. It is people like YOU!

      • Patrick Klocek

        Oddly, I feel it is collectivists like you that are destroying the country. So, I guess that’s a wash then. But I am always terrified by people of your sort. When they speak of the “great things we can do” as a collective, what that usually means is you are thinking of things you can do TO ME rather than for me.

        You like the Danish model. I don’t blame you. It’s a swell country. I would also encourage you to go back and check out what Denmark has been doing over the last 10 years — namely slashing their welfare state.

        Denmark is a county of 5 million people that can be crossed in about two and half hours — I’ve done it. It helps that they spend 1/2 as much per capita of their GDP on defense as the US does. They benefit from NATO. It’s what’s called the “free rider phenomenon.” Denmark also has a highly cohesive and homogeneous population. Consensus is easily arrived at. It means actions can be done collectively more easily than in heterogeneous countries like the USA or old USSR. Collective action required a considerable amount of coercion in the Soviet Union and it we are just beginning to see the coercion that the Democrats are willing to subject Americans to with ObamaCare and the EPA now. I have never been terrified for his country like I am now with people like Obama, Warren, Hillary, and Bernie Sanders … and their supporters.

      • formerroadie

        It’s an argument based in fairy tales and rainbow dreams. It’s a fantasy of stupid proportions.

      • Patrick Klocek

        Funny — that’s exactly what I have been saying about the Democrats since 2008. I seemed to be proved right more and more everyday too.

      • formerroadie

        Based on misinformation and ideology based in a non-reality?

      • Patrick Klocek

        Your comments would carry more weight of they actually made sense. A “non reality,” that’s a bold and universal statement. From that, I think I can safely deduce that you are an ideological extremist.

      • formerroadie

        By the way, you want small government? You willing to cut most of the military budget then?

  • Cyndi

    It only makes sense to right wing fruitcakes.

  • presumptous, “Let me break it down simply.:” I think we would all prefer to do our own breaking down. What that really says is that I know more than you and “listen to me,

  • Arlene B

    Sadly, the morons who continue to screw themselves by supporting the sociopath tealunatics are unable to grasp this simple logic.

  • awakeinwa

    fascism is always attractive despite fact that people have no votes at work, get fired at will, and the only way to change conditions for the better or to throw any bum running things out is by voting via govt. Govt is too easy a scapegoat for the powerful to use

  • agentssith

    Didn’t you know? Big business is part of big gubment!

  • moe/larry & curly keys

    bottom line of all bottom lines:
    these crybabies who demand smaller GOVT generally were NOWHERE2 be found until a black democratic president assumed office
    ===================================================
    check the month and year the fabulous tea party formed

  • rebmoma

    Oh thank you! I thought I was the only one to recognize this obvious fact.

  • Adam Sartain

    I find it interesting that this article is really about corrupt politicians being influenced by big business and special interests, yet all you commenters can talk about is the “small government” argument that has been argued for decades. Your “kennel owner” and dentist are not donating millions of dollars to elect corrupt politicians and they certainly aren’t benefiting from those that do. We aren’t talking about small-businesses (though we should be). The fact is that the American Dream of making it big and being successful and rich has been hijacked by those who have already achieved it. And now they are spending a lot of money to elect to power those who will make sure that ladder to success has a couple rungs missing. The problem with all of this is us. We let ourselves be influenced by attack ads or snazzy signs when all we have to do is take the time to do a little research before we vote. Look at who’s running and who is backing them financially. There ARE people like me who are running for public offices and aren’t taking money from big business and special interests. In fact, they’re running AGAINST such people. Until we as a people wake up and start electing real people and not corporate puppets, things will either stay the same or continue to get worse. I for one will do my research before going to the polls this year, and I suggest you all quit arguing and do the same.